Recent Amendments to the Companies (Incorporation) Rules, 2014

By Husain Kader

The Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) has issued a recent notification dated 16th October, 2019 notifying the Companies (Incorporation) Eight Amendment Rules, 2019 to amend the Companies (Incorporation) Rules, 2014.

The amendments are summarised below:

Sr No. Particulars Erstwhile Provision After Amendment Remarks
1. Undesirable Names

 

Rule 8A

Earlier if the name of the proposed company included a registered trademark then approval from the owner or the applicant for registration of trademark had to be obtained by the promoters of the proposed company before making name application to ROC. Now the option to get approval from the applicant for registration of trademark has been removed.

 

Now approval has to be obtained from the owner only.

The Owner and applicant for registration of trademark could be two different persons and therefore earlier there was an option.

 

Now the rule has been made more stringent and the approval of the present owner is necessary.

2. Active Company Tagging Identities and Verification (ACTIVE)

 

Rule 25A

Earlier if a company was marked as ACTIVE-non-compliant than unless e-Form ACTIVE was filed the company was not able request for any changes in director information by filing Form DIR-12 except in case of cessation. Now if a company is marked as ACTIVE-non-compliant than it will not be able to request for any changes in director information except in the following cases:

 

1.   cessation of any director; or

2.   appointment of directors in a company where total number of directors fall below the minimum limit as provided in the Act on disqualification of all or any of the director; or

3.   appointment of any director in such company where DINs of all or any of its director(s) have been deactivated; or

4.   appointment of director(s) for implementation of the order passed by the Court or Tribunal or Appellate Tribunal.

MCA has liberalized the ACTIVE rule to allow changes to be made to the information of directors to allow appointment or cessation of directors where it becomes absolutely necessary  in cases which may  lead to non-functioning of the Board of Directors of a company or non-compliance of the Companies Act.
3. Shifting of registered office within the same State

 

Rule 28

After amendment the MCA has added the following rules to the present provisions:

 

1.   The Regional Director (“RD”) shall examine the application seeking confirmation from the RD for shifting the registered office within the same State from the jurisdiction of one ROC to another ROC and the application may be put up for orders without hearing and the order either approving or rejecting the application shall be passed within 15 days of the receipt of application complete in all respects; and

 

2.   The certified copy of order of the RD, approving the alternation of MOA for transfer of registered office company within the same State, shall be filed in Form No. INC-28 along with fee with the Registrar of State within 30 days from the date of receipt of certified copy of the order.

The Rule has been made more stringent by the MCA whereby now an order shall be passed by the RD after examination of all the submitted documents and such order shall have to be filed in Form INC-28 (which is an added compliance to be followed) for shifting of registered office.

 

Important Update – Annual Filings

 

As per a recent notification dated October 29, 2019, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (“MCA”) has provided relief to the stakeholders by relaxing additional fees and extending the last date of filing for the following for the financial year which ended on March 31, 2019 to:

  1. Filing of forms for financial statements – November 30, 2019; and
  2. Filing of annual returns – December 31, 2019.

On failure to file the forms by the above due dates, an additional fees of INR 100/- per day for each day of default will become applicable.

Information to Include in Director’s Report

The following information must be mandatorily disclosed in the Director’s Report filed by the Board of Directors:

1 Dividend, if declared & amount, if any, carried forwarded to reserves
2 Details of ESOPs:

a. Options granted

b. Options vested

c. Options exercised, and

d. Total number of Options in force, if any

3 Information about the financial performance / financial position and details of the subsidiaries / associates/ JV
4 Details of loans, investments and guarantees by the company
5 Details relating to deposits, covering the following:

Accepted during the year;
Remained unpaid or unclaimed as at the end of the year;
Whether there has been any default in repayment of deposits or payment of interest thereon during the year and if so, number of such cases and the total amount involved (i) at the beginning of the year (ii) maximum during the year and (iii) at the end of the year.
Details of deposits which are not in compliance with the requirements of Chapter V of the Act

6 Website address
7 Disclosures under the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition & Redressal) Act, 2013
8 Borrowing by the company
9 Director remuneration (for each director)
10 Details of transfer of shares during the financial year
11 Break up of related party transaction (1. Name of related party and nature of relationship and 2. Duration of the agreement)

Issue of Shares with Differential Voting Rights

Issue of Shares with Differential Voting Rights

What does Issue of Shares through Differential Voting Rights means?

 

The issue of Shares with Differential Voting Rights (DVRs) means shares that give the holder differential rights as to voting (either more or less voting right) as against the Ordinary shareholders of the company.

 

As per Section 43(a)(ii) of the Companies Act, 2013, a company incorporated in India and limited by shares is permitted to have equity shares with differential voting rights as part of its share capital. The differential rights appended to such equity shares may be with respect to dividend, voting or otherwise. Such equity shares may be issued by a company as per Rule 4 of the Companies (Share Capital & Debentures) Rules, 2014 prescribed under the Companies Act, 2013. Private companies can issue shares with differential voting rights in the manner prescribed under their Articles of Association, provided the Articles exempt the applicability of the Section 43 and 47 of the Companies Act, 2013 read with rule 4 of the Companies (Share Capital & Debentures) Rules 2014.

 

Section 47 of The Companies Act, 2013, provides for every shareholder of a company to have a right to vote on every resolution presented before the company. However, in the event that the memorandum and articles of association of the company so provide, a private company may opt to not accord every member with such right to vote.

 

What are the benefits of issuing shares with differential voting rights?

 

A company may choose to issue shares with differential voting rights for obtaining investments without offering voting rights to the investor and thereby avoiding any attempts at a hostile takeover. Similarly, the promoters can get investment without diluting the control on decision making capabilities. Shares with differential voting rights are favorable to private companies which do not have abundance of dispensable funds or distributable profits and are susceptible to a hostile takeover. Issuance of shares with differential voting rights affords an opportunity to such private companies to broaden their capital base without having to lose control over or management of the company.

 

What is the Procedure for issue of issue of shares with DVR?*

 

1) No company limited by shares shall issue equity shares with differential rights as to dividend, voting or otherwise, unless it complies with the following conditions, namely:-

 

(a) the articles of association of the company should authorizes the issue of shares with differential rights;

 

(b) The Company should call board meeting and shareholders meeting for passing ordinary resolution for issue of shares with DVR;

 

Provided that where the equity shares of a company are listed on a recognized stock exchange, the issue of such shares shall be approved by the shareholders through postal ballot;

 

(c) the voting power in respect of shares with differential rights of the company shall not exceed seventy four per cent. of total voting power including voting power in respect of equity shares with differential rights issued at any point of time;

 

(d) the company has not defaulted in filing financial statements and annual returns for three financial years immediately preceding the financial year in which it is decided to issue such shares;

(e) the company has no subsisting default in the payment of a declared dividend to its shareholders or repayment of its matured deposits or redemption of its preference shares or debentures that have become due for redemption or payment of interest on such deposits or debentures or payment of dividend;

(f) the company has not defaulted in payment of the dividend on preference shares or repayment of any term loan from a public financial institution or State level financial institution or scheduled Bank that has become repayable or interest payable thereon or dues with respect to statutory payments relating to its employees to any authority or default in crediting the amount in Investor Education and Protection Fund to the Central Government;

 

Provided that a company may issue equity shares with differential rights upon expiry of five years from the end of the financial Year in which such default was made good.”]

 

(g) the company has not been penalized by Court or Tribunal during the last three years of any offence under the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934, the Securities and Exchange Board of India Act, 1992, the Securities Contracts Regulation Act, 1956, the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 or any other special Act, under which such companies being regulated by sectoral regulators.

 

(2) The explanatory statement to be annexed to the notice of the general meeting in pursuance of section 102 or of a postal ballot in pursuance of section 110 shall contain the following particulars, namely:-

 

(a) the total number of shares to be issued with differential rights;

(b) the details of the differential rights ;

(c) the percentage of the shares with differential rights to the total post issue paid up equity share capital including equity shares with differential rights issued at any point of time;

(d) the reasons or justification for the issue;

(e) the price at which such shares are proposed to be issued either at par or at premium;

(f) the basis on which the price has been arrived at;

(g) (i) in case of private placement or preferential issue-

(a) details of total number of shares proposed to be allotted to promoters, directors and key managerial personnel;

(b) details of total number of shares proposed to be allotted to persons other than promoters, directors and key managerial personnel and their relationship if any with any promoter, director or key managerial personnel;

(ii) in case of public issue – reservation, if any, for different classes of applicants including promoters, directors or key managerial personnel;

(h) the percentage of voting right which the equity share capital with differential voting right shall carry to the total voting right of the aggregate equity share capital;

(i) the scale or proportion in which the voting rights of such class or type of shares shall vary;

(j) the change in control, if any, in the company that may occur consequent to the issue of equity shares with differential voting rights;

(k) the diluted Earning Per Share pursuant to the issue of such shares, calculated in accordance with the applicable accounting standards;

(l) the pre and post issue shareholding pattern along with voting rights as per clause 35 of the listing agreement issued by Security Exchange Board of India from time to time.

 

(3) The company shall not convert its existing equity share capital with voting rights into equity share capital carrying differential voting rights and vice–versa.

 

(4) The Board of Directors shall, inter alia, disclose in the Board’s Report for the financial year in which the issue of equity shares with differential rights was completed, the following details, namely:-

 

(a) the total number of shares allotted with differential rights;

(b) the details of the differential rights relating to voting rights and dividends;

(c) the percentage of the shares with differential rights to the total post issue equity share capital with differential rights issued at any point of time and percentage of voting rights which the equity share capital with differential voting right shall carry to the total voting right of the aggregate equity share capital;

(d) the price at which such shares have been issued;

(e) the particulars of promoters, directors or key managerial personnel to whom such shares are issued;

(f) the change in control, if any, in the company consequent to the issue of equity shares with differential voting rights;

(g) the diluted Earning Per Share pursuant to the issue of each class of shares, calculated in accordance with the applicable accounting standards;

(h) the pre and post issue shareholding pattern along with voting rights in the format specified under sub-rule (2) of rule 4.

 

(5) The holders of the equity shares with differential rights shall enjoy all other rights such as bonus shares, rights shares etc., which the holders of equity shares are entitled to, subject to the differential rights with which such shares have been issued.

 

(6) In case issue of DVR affects the rights of existing class of shares then obtain consent form that class shares (3/4th) or by passing special resolution by having meeting of separate class of shares and file form MGT-14 with ROC;

 

(7) Where a company issues equity shares with differential rights, the Register of Members maintained under section 88 shall contain all the relevant particulars of the shares so issued along with details of the shareholders.

 

*The provisions of Section 43 and Section 47 of the Companies Act, 2013 shall not apply to private companies in case MOA and AOA of the company provide otherwise.

GOVERNMENT PROPOSES MAJOR LABOUR LAW CHANGES FOR EASE OF COMPLIANCE

PROPOSED MAJOR LABOUR LAW CHANGES FOR EASE OF COMPLIANCE

The Code on Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions, 2019 (“OSHW”), introduced by the Ministry of Labour and Employment introduces provisions allowing companies to have a single registration, which will be coupled with a single licence, along with a single return, for executing projects for five years involving contract workers, across the country.

An establishment will require a single registration instead of around 10 required to be done for all labour laws, a move that may help India bolster its “ease of doing business” ranking. Significantly, the Code on OSHW will cover all establishments hiring at least 10 workers, including those in services sector, thereby bringing the information technology sector within its ambit.

Employers will have to create a security deposit with the government at the time of obtaining such licence and specify the number of contract workers it might require. In case an employer wants to hire more contract workers, it will have to go back to the government to renew the licence and make an additional deposit.

In a further bid to improve ease of doing business, the Centre has proposed assigning “inspector-cum-facilitators” outside their jurisdiction “through randomised computer system”.

The provision of one licence and one return in place of multiple licences and returns in existing 13 labour laws subsumed in this Code is intended to save time, resources and efforts of businesses.

Issue of Shares with Differential Voting Rights

What is Differential Voting Rights?

Shares with Differential Voting Rights (DVRs) means shares that give the holder differential rights as to voting (either more or less voting right) as against the Ordinary shareholders of the company.

Types of DVR    

  • Shares that have superior voting rights
  • Shares that have inferior voting rights

Eligibility/Condition for issue of shares with DVR*

  • AOA of the Company should authorize issue of DVR;
  • Consistent track record of distributable profits for the last three years;
  • No default in filing annual return for last 3 Financial Years;
  • No default in payment of declared dividend or repayment of deposit or loan borrowed;
  • the shares with differential rights shall not exceed twenty-six percent of the total post-issue paid up equity share capital;
  • No penalty by court or tribunal for any offense for the last 3 Financial Years; and
  • The shares issued with DVR cannot be changed later.

*This provisions shall not apply to private companies in case MOA and AOA of the company provide otherwise.

Procedure for issue of shares with differential voting rights

  • Check AOA of the Company;
  • Obtain valuation certificate from registered valuer;
  • Open a separate bank account;
  • The terms of issue of shares should be finalized;
  • Conduct board meeting for issue of shares with DVR;
  • In case issue of DVR affects the rights of existing class of shares then obtain consent from 3/4th of the shareholders of that class;
  • Filing form MGT-14 with ROC within 30 days of EGM;
  • Circulate offer letter along with the share application form to the investors;
  • Receive share application money along with the application form ;
  • Conduct board meeting for allotment of shares;
  • File form PAS-3 within 15 days of allotment of shares;
  • Pay stamp duty and issue share certificates; and
  • Make entry in register of members.

Difference between DVR shares and Ordinary Shares

DVR shares
  • Provide few or higher voting right to shareholders.
  • Rate of dividend is low or higher.
  • DVR shares are ideal for small shareholders or promoters.
  • Issued at a discount in comparison with ordinary shares.
Ordinary Shares
  • One share One Vote.
  • Rate of dividend is fixed for class of shareholders.
  • Ideal for large shareholders.
  • Issue at FMV.

Advantages of Issuing shares with DVR

From Issuer Perspective
  • To raise more capital without diluting its ownership structure.
  • Get control in decision making process.
  • A tool to avoid hostile take over.
  • To fund large Project.
From Investor Perspective
  • Benefit to investors since share are issued at discount & also for incremental dividend.
  • Better for investors who are looking for good quick return rather than voting rights.
  • Institutional Investors can invest in private companies without any limit and making it a subsidiary.

Dis-advantages of DVR

From companies Perspective
  • Lack of investor awareness about such issue of shares.
  • Issue shares at discount.
  • Minority shareholders can lose faith in the Company.
From investor Perspective
  • Lack of investor awareness about such issue of shares.
  • Possible misuse of voting power
  • by the promoters & hence act
  • against the interest of the shareholders.
  • Lack of liquidity may hamper return.
  • Not beneficial for Institutional
  • Investors as they are
  • interested in voting rights and long term capital gains both.

Case of Tata Motors

  • In 2008, issued DVR shares.
  • It was the first company in India to issue DVR shares and amongst the very few in Asia.
  • Issued at Rs 305 a share which was about 10% lower than the issue of normal rights at Rs.340.
  • Will offer 5% of more dividends.
  • Gives an additional 10.3% discount.
  • But carry one-tenth the voting rights of ordinary shares. This means 10 DVR shares = 1 ordinary share as far as voting rights is concerned.

Amazon caps voting rights in Witzig Advisory Services at 17%

  • Amazon has bought 17% stake in the company through Class A shares and the rest 32% through Class B shares having differential voting rights (DVR).
  • Each Class A share shall have one vote, while the Class B shares shall not carry any voting rights. This effectively caps Amazon’s voting rights in Witzig at 17%.
  • Amazon appears to have made use of DVR shares to comply with the new ecommerce FDI norms that came into force from February 1, and also to ensure that More can continue selling on its Indian marketplace.
  • The new ecommerce FDI guidelines had forced Amazon to reduce its stake from 49% to 24% in Cloudtail and Appario, the two top sellers on its marketplace. The American etailer had also evaluated the idea of limiting its holding in Witzig to less than 26%, and not acquiring 49% in the company as was originally planned.
  • By capping its voting rights in Witzig at less than 17%, Amazon will be able to continue with More as a seller. Samara Capital will hold 51% in Witzig, making the latter an Indian owned-and-controlled company.

Conclusion

  • For an investor, who wants to be in the company’s decision processes, DVR  shares is not an attractive proposition due to limited voting rights.
  • But if an investor isn’t concerned much with voting rights, then investing in the DVR would certainly be an attractive option.

Fundraised from Foreign Investors? Ensure You Don’t miss this Filing with RBI!

Which companies are eligible to file the Form FLA?

Every Indian company and Limited Liability Partnership (LLP) which have received Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and/or made Overseas Direct Investments (ODI) in the previous year(s), including the current year are required to file Annual Return on Foreign Liabilities and Assets (“Form FLA”) with RBI on or before July 15th every year.

The Form FLA has to be also filed in a case where a company/LLP has not received any fresh FDI and/or ODI in the current year but has outstanding FDI and/or ODI from previous years.

In case where the company/LLPs financial statements are unaudited before the due date of submission of Form FLA, the return is required to be submitted on the basis of such unaudited (provisional) financial statements. Once the accounts get audited and there are revisions from the provisional information submitted, the company/LLP’s will be required to submit a revised return by September 30th.

The following companies are excluded from submitting FLA return:

  1. Where Indian company/LLP does not have any outstanding investment in respect of inward and outward FDI as on the end of March of the reporting year, the company/LLP is not required to submit the Form FLA.
  2. If a company/LLP has received only share application money and does not have any foreign direct investment or overseas direct investment outstanding as on the end of March of the reporting year, the company/LLP is not required to submit the Form FLA.
  3. If all non-resident shareholders of a company/LLP has transferred their shares to the residents during the reporting period and the company/LLP does not have any outstanding investment in respect of inward and outward FDI as on the end of March of reporting year, the company/LLP is not required to submit the Form FLA.
  4. If shares are issued by reporting company to non-resident on Non-Repatriable basis, then it should not be considered as a foreign investment; therefore, companies which have issued the shares to non-resident only on Non-Repatriable basis, are not required to submit the Form FLA.

How does one submit the Form FLA?

The format of Form FLA can be found here. The filled form along with any attachment has to be mailed to [email protected] by the due date. The email has to be sent from the official email id of any authorized person in the company/LLP, such as CFO, Director, Company Secretary, etc.  Acknowledgment will be received from RBI on the same email id from which the form is sent.